Item description for Unbeaten Tracks in Japan: An Account of Travels in the Interior Including Visits to the Aborigines of Yezo and the Shrine of Nikko (Stone Bridge Classics) by Isabella L. Bird...
The first recorded account of Japan by a Westerner, this 1878 book captures a lifestyle that has nearly vanished. The author traveled 1,400 miles by horse, ferry, foot, and jinrikisha.
Isabella Lucy Bird (18311904) was a pioneering woman adventurer who wrote many books about faraway places.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.25" Width: 5.5" Height: 7.5" Weight: 0.6 lbs.
Release Date Apr 1, 2007
Publisher Stone Bridge Press
ISBN 1933330198 ISBN13 9781933330198
Availability 0 units.
More About Isabella L. Bird
Isabella Lucy Bird (1831-1904) was a nineteenth-century English traveller, writer, and a natural historian. Bird finally left Britain in 1872, going first to Australia, which she disliked, and then to Hawaii (known in Europe as the Sandwich Islands), her love for which prompted her second book (published three years later). While there she climbed Mauna Loa and visited Queen Emma. She then moved on to Colorado, then the newest member of the United States, where she had heard the air was excellent for the infirm. Dressed practically and riding not sidesaddle but frontwards like a man (though she threatened to sue the Times for saying she dressed like one), she covered over 800 miles in the Rocky Mountains in 1873. Her letters to her sister, first printed in the magazine Leisure Hour, comprised her fourth and perhaps most famous book, A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains. Bird's time in the Rockies was enlivened especially by her acquaintance with Jim Nugent, a textbook outlaw with one eye and an affinity for violence and poetry. "A man any woman might love but no sane woman would marry," Bird declared in a section excised from her letters prior to their publication. Nugent also seemed captivated by the independently-minded Bird, but she ultimately left the Rockies and her "dear desperado" Nugent was shot dead less than a year later. At home, Bird again found herself pursued, this time by John Bishop, an Edinburgh doctor in his thirties. Predictably ill, she went traveling again, this time to the far east: Japan, China, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia.
Isabella L. Bird was born in 1831 and died in 1904.
Reviews - What do customers think about Unbeaten Tracks in Japan: An Account of Travels in the Interior Including Visits to the Aborigines of Yezo and the Shrine of Nikko (Stone Bridge Classics)?
Intrepid back country traveler Apr 6, 2008
Isabella Bird was the first Western white woman to visit the more remote regions of Japan. She did so - as usual, in her travels - with merely a local guide and appropriate travel/camping gear. Her writings offer a fascinating glimpse into local life in Japan in the mid-late 1800s. She was an intrepid traveler, an astute observer of the human and the cultural, and very much a woman of her era - although open-minded for her times, many of her cultural assumptions and societal standards come through between the lines. But it is an altogether delightful read. This and her other books are compilations of letters she wrote home to her sister, who was also her very good friend: reading this, you can "be there" with her on her travels, just as she must have intended her sister to be. Highly recommended for anyone interested in a close look at a foreign culture, in Japan, and/or in great travel writing.
unexpected japan Jul 4, 2006
Bird provides a view of Japan that was unknown to outsiders in that day, and is little known to us today. The scenes she descibes of the interior of Japan would scarecly entice today's traveler; which makes her adventures all the more intriguing. Her extensive knowledge of history and botany enhances the drama; however, had she incuded a glossary of terms, as well as the common names of flora it would have sped my reading as I had to repeatedly refer to dictionaries and botanic references. Her ethnocentrism is revealed as she describes the natives of the area; a pracctice that would be frowned upon today. Never-the-less I look forward to reading more of her works.
Isabella Bird, Woman of Great Courage May 17, 2003
This is one of the great travel books of all time. First of all it is an adventure. This English woman decided, for some strange reason of health, in 1878 to go to Japan and travel from Tokyo to the island of Hokkaido, roughly 500 miles as the crow flys but much longer by her route. She went "off the beaten track" where Westerners, men or women had never been before. Japan had been opened up to the West only 10 years before her journey. Word of her coming to a village (on horseback) caused such excitement that people that wanted a better view caused the roof of a building to collapse. Changing into night clothes was an ordeal because people would poke holes in the screens to watch her every move. Then there was the bugs and the rain storms and the rivers, etc., etc. It was well written and a joy to read.
Fascinating 19th Century Woman Feb 25, 2002
This book is actually a series of letters written in the 1870's by Isabella Bird, an intrepid Scotswoman,to her sister. Japan had "opened" to the west only some 10 years earlier and she was determined to visit the "untoured" areas of inland Japan, off the beaten track. I wondered to myself how many hordes of Western tourists had there already been to Japan at that time? What makes this book so interesting is twofold. First of all she describes peasant and village life in areas which were quite poor and did not conform to the picture of Japanese life in the cities of Tokyo or Kyoto at that time or now. As was true for Europe at the same period, there were huge differences in the standards of living between the different classes and between town and village. Her descriptions of the Ainu were especially vivid and interesting. The other aspect is Isabella Bird herself. She traveled by pack horse, cow, rickshaw and on foot via mountain tracks and fording countless rivers. She slept in flea infested Ryokan and endured being stared at endlessly. For weeks at a time she could speak only to her servant/interpreter since she did not know Japanese. Recommended for those with an interest in Japan or good travel writing.